|Rurouni Kenshin character|
Takani Megumi on the cover of Rurouni Kenshin Kanzenban Volume 18
|Created by||Nobuhiro Watsuki|
Mika Doi (anime)
Mari Devon (anime)
Rebeca Robinson (OVAs)
|Portrayed by||Yū Aoi|
Takani Megumi (高荷 恵?), known in Western order as Megumi Takani in the English-language anime adaptation, is a fictional character from the Rurouni Kenshin universe created by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Megumi is the youngest daughter of Takani Ryūsei, a well-known doctor in Aizu which was an important province supporting the Tokugawa Shogunate. During the Boshin Wars, Megumi's father died and the rest of her family went missing, leaving her as the sole survivor. Megumi means "Blessing" in Japanese.
Nobuhiro Watsuki, while creating Megumi as a "mature woman," had no specific character model in mind. Watsuki's describes his standalone Megumi as bearing a "lighter quality" as she had a small role in that story. In the final series Watsuki decided to give her an "earthy quality" so she could make an impression on the reader. By the time of the publication of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4, Watsuki felt some disappointment in the result of the character since he did not feel that he portrayed her in the intended manner. Watsuki's drawing design used the grandmother from Takeshi Obata's Cyborg Jii-chan G as the model for Megumi. Initially, Watsuki had intended to introduce her as a minor character as the only other woman who Kaoru interacts with. Watsuki wished to express a "redemption for crimes" theme by using Megumi's determination.
Takani Megumi is from the Aizu region, now Fukushima Prefecture. Like the rest of her family, Megumi is adept at "rangaku" (Literally "Dutch learning") medicine, although she mixes this Western learning with Eastern medicine as well. The fact that Megumi bore the last name 'Takani' spoke of her family's higher class level - peasants during that time were forbidden to carry family names.
Megumi was portrayed both in the anime and in the manga as having long, dark hair and dark eyes. In the anime particularly, she usually wore a blue michiyuki (overcoat) worn over a lavender kimono. She was introduced in Volume 2 of Rurouni Kenshin and was learned to be a maker of 'Spiders Web' opium. She has a special relationship with Sanosuke. The two of them bicker a great deal, but he is very protective of her. In the anime, he goes to see her on the romantic star festival of Tanabata. She also worries about him fighting and getting hurt. When he is wounded by Saito at the beginning of the Kyoto arc, Megumi stays by his side for three days and nights until he recovers.
Sometimes, Megumi appears to have fox ears popping out of her head, an allusion to her nickname kitsune, which means "fox". Sanosuke especially likes to call her kitsune-onna (Vixen in the English manga, which is the name of a female fox) meaning Fox Lady, though Yahiko and Kaoru sometimes call her this as well. Throughout the series Megumi is compared to a fox.
Like Kaoru, Megumi is a strong-willed woman, but she is also depicted as a more mature and cunning compared to the younger Kaoru.
Megumi was born in December 1857 to a family of well-known family of doctors throughout Aizu, though were considered unusual because every generation of the family went into medicine and allowed both women and children to study medicine as well. They were highly ranked doctors in the social hierarchy, but despite the fierce discrimination present in the Edo period, they believed in equal treatment of all sick patients and were devoted to their treatment regardless of social status. The family's ideals was that the true purpose of medicine was life and found rigid system preference for the samurai class offensive to their profession.
Takani Ryūsei, Megumi's father, was an extreme believer of this ideal and courageously left Aizu with his family to Nagasaki to study western medicine. When the family returned through special permission, the province was at war. Megumi's family left her behind to serve as doctors on the battlefield. Her father died on the front while her mother and two brothers disappeared.
Being educated in herbal and Western medicine (rangaku), Megumi eventually became an assistant to a prominent physician with the intention of training to become a full-fledged doctor herself. However, it turned out that the man she worked for was not the best of men. He was in turn working for a crime lord named Takeda Kanryū who ran an opium syndicate in Tokyo.
Takeda commissioned the doctor to produce a new kind of opium which they then called "Spider's Web." The formula for the Spider's Web was different in that it uses half the normal dose of poppy juice but is twice as effective as the regular drug, allowing it to rake in four times the profit. While working for the doctor, Megumi learned the secrets of the formula and later, when Takeda killed the doctor during an argument, he forced her to use the formula to make more opium.
Megumi deeply regretted her dishonorable life under Takeda's tyranny, which was a far cry from the relative nobility of her previous life when her family was still alive. She was guilt-racked at having been forced to create opium but could do little else. Finally, she decided to leave Takeda's mansion and escaped the Oniwabanshū.
When Megumi first appears (eps 8 of the anime, A New Battle: The Beautiful Girl from Nowhere; volume 2 of the manga), she is a troubled woman running from a group of men (the Oniwabanshū onmitsu, which included Beshimi). To escape her pursuers, she ended up in a gambling house where Himura Kenshin and Sagara Sanosuke were playing dice with a couple of friends.
Megumi asks for their help and later she accompanies them back to the Kamiya dojo, where Kamiya Kaoru was waiting and fuming over the fact that Kenshin had brought a female stranger into her home. Sensing Kaoru's jealousy, Megumi plays the flirt and makes several advances to Kenshin, which he handles nervously and refrains from submitting to. Megumi's personality as a shrewd, flirtatious woman was established and her act of purposely making Kaoru jealous was a prevailing theme throughout the series whenever her character appeared.
Megumi manages to endear herself to Kenshin's group, which includes Myōjin Yahiko, Kamiya Kaoru, and Sagara Sanosuke, when she saves Yahiko from being poisoned after he takes a dart meant for her. However, Sanosuke becomes suspicious of her when he discovers she is carrying around opium, the same drug that killed his friend Yoita. The Oniwabanshū discovers Megumi's whereabouts and send men to kidnap her or attack her newfound friends. In the manga, to prevent further bloodshed, Megumi decides to voluntarily return to Takeda's mansion. In the anime, Sanosuke follows her to the mansion and tries to talk her into returning with him to the dojo. However, Beshimi captures her and takes her into the mansion, where Megumi meets the feared leader (okashira) of the Oniwabanshū, Shinomori Aoshi, who gives her a tantō with which she could commit suicide. Understanding Megumi's predicament, he had given her the choice to end her dishonorable life through death. She attempts to stab herself, but Sanosuke gets there in time and stops her, grabbing the blade with his bare hand. He and Kenshin then convince her to atone for her past by continuing to live and help people. Megumi came to work under the guardianship of Oguni Gensai-sensei after Takeda was defeated.
Shishio Makoto, the primary antagonist, appears in Kyoto with the intention of conquering Japan. Kenshin is tasked by the Meiji government of Japan to go to Kyoto and stop Shishio and his Juppongatana. A reluctant Kenshin takes up the dangerous mission because he feels it is his duty, and leaves Tokyo behind, saying goodbye only to Kamiya Kaoru.
After Kenshin leaves, Kaoru becomes depressed for days and refuses to get up from her futon, causing her friends to worry. It is Megumi who finally convinces her to get off her bed and go after Kenshin, under the pretext of giving him some of her special medicine. She asserts to Kaoru that when Kenshin left, he said goodbye only to her, which meant that Kenshin felt Kaoru was more important to him than anyone else he left behind, including Megumi herself. While Kaoru and Yahiko head for Kyoto, Megumi remains behind to watch over the Kamiya dojo. Shortly afterwards, she receives a visit from Shinomori Aoshi.
The depth of her feelings for Kenshin were never explicitly revealed, as it seems that she only flirted with him to make Kaoru jealous. As time passed she appears to have developed deeper feelings for Sagara Sanosuke. This was confirmed in the end of the Kyoto arc: Megumi finally goes to Kyoto to check on Sanosuke and his friends after the battle, and during a small tour through the city she tells Kaoru that Kenshin's body is seriously worn out, and finally asks her to take the best care of him. Megumi expresses that although she wishes that she could be the one to make Kenshin return safely, only Kaoru is able to do so. In the third season of the anime, she is shown making a wish at a temple about Sanosuke. They are also together on Tanabata, considered the most romantic night of the year, and the anime ends with Sanosuke at the clinic, doing chores for Megumi while she cooks for him and washes his clothes.
In the manga-only Jinchū arc, Megumi finds her hands full at the Oguni Clinic caring for the people hurt during Yukishiro Enishi's Jinchū (Man's Punishment) on Kenshin.
When Kenshin's past is revealed to his friends, Megumi reassures Kaoru in her typical manner that Kaoru should not believe that she is merely replacing Kenshin's first wife, Yukishiro Tomoe, in his heart. After treating Kenshin and Sanosuke's injuries, she acts as the doctor at the Kamiya dojo when Enishi finally attacks. When the battle ends with the death of Kaoru, a grief-stricken Megumi examines Kaoru's body before allowing it to be prepared for burial.
Following this event, Shinomori Aoshi and Makimachi Misao arrive from Kyoto, apparently too late to aid their friends. Aoshi, hearing the events that unfolded, soon deduces that Kaoru is likely not dead and orders Kaoru's body to be exhumed, because it is likely a very intricately made doll. Megumi is outraged that he would be heartless enough to suggest the act, asserting she examined the body herself, but Aoshi counters her argument by remarking that the doll would likely fool even an expert medical practitioner, and her judgment was likely clouded with emotion. After some persuasion from Yahiko, the body is exhumed; Megumi confirms the body is real until it is broken open and wires are pulled.
Following this revelation, Megumi remains at the Genzai clinic as the search for Kaoru begins. When Yahiko, Sanosuke, and a renewed Kenshin are injured again, she treats them (while angrily chastising Sanosuke for using his badly injured right fist again, which she had previously warned him never to use after the events of the Kyoto arc). She travels with the group to Enishi's island in case they need medical attention as they prepare to rescue Kaoru. In a moment of comic relief, she throws her medicine cabinet at Sanosuke when he uses his right fist again, prompting him to remark that even she is joining the battle and using her cabinet as a weapon, though he wonders what side she is on.
When the Rurouni Kenshin series was first aired in Japan, Megumi's character was played by Japanese voice actress, Mika Doi. The English version of the series had Mari Devon voicing the character. Rebeca Robinson also voiced Megumi for the DVD release of Samurai X: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen).
- Samurai X: Reflection (DVD). ADV Films. 2003.
- Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 144.
- Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (13) Takani Megumi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 164.
- Rurouni Kenshin Profiles. Viz Media. 2005. ISBN 978-1-4215-0160-4.
- Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 19: Daughter of Aizu." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 76.
- Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 67: Birth of a Small Champion." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. VIZ Media. 11.
- Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. VIZ Media. 187.